My favorite typewriter is a broken down beauty whose best years are far behind her.
My in-laws have graciously made space for this old thing in their house, and as soon as we move out of our current shoe-box apartment I’ll have her back.
I bought this typewriter from eBay, and the seller assured me that it was in working order. Unfortunately, when it arrived the carriage wouldn’t advance. I commandeered the family dining table and reduced the machine to its elements. Deep in the heart of the machine, I found the problem. I don’t know the name of the part, but the piece that supports the carriage had broken in two in transit. I saw clean, shining metal which to me indicated a fresh break. I put everything back together and got another much newer typewriter for daily use.
It’s hard for me to describe the appeal that these really old typewriters hold for me. I think they are art. Typewriters are a kind of kinetic sculpture. They fulfilled a vital purpose, but they were created with an eye for beauty. Having an old typewriter is like breaking off a piece of history and keeping it secret. Time and technology race ahead, seeming to disregard what came before, erasing the old and the broken. These old machines may not work well, or even at all, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be forgotten.